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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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tige. However, among the world's older nations, in developed areas, such as Europe, the less powerful ones have adapted psychologically to their modest power status. National pecking orders of long standing minimize conflict and guarantee an absence of friction over the problem. Of course, acquiescence by small European nations is made much easier by the combination of high per capita incomes and recent efforts at economic and political integration.* Most developing nations, however, are relatively new as nations; they have been exposed to the pecking order for a much briefer time and may not recognize it at all; therefore, as newcomers they are highly concerned with "national mobility." Such countries are invariably poor and thus are denied the psychological comforts of small-country prosperity; nor have they yet developed specializations which would, as in the case of social legislation or sexual freedom in Scandinavia, provide international prestige in a less competitive market. Further, there are special reasons why they might be especially prone to consider population size as a key to national mobility.
First, many of them are small in absolute population size, and especially small in the ratio of people to land. Further, this very smallness is often the consequence of actions by colonial powers; slavery, warfare, and the spread of disease are often referred to as decimating native populations of Africa and Latin America. More refined political techniques are often cited, too. The suspicion that the Spanish in Latin America and the British and French in Africa created artificial nations in order to divide and conquer is now matched with the notion that by means of "preventive genocide" and "neo-colonial biological imperialism," the big powers are striving to keep these nations small.
In Latin America, a leading voice of nationalism has been the editor of El Salvador's El Diario de Hoy, Napoleon Viera Altamirano.t In a 33-month period beginning in mid-1965, no less than fifty-one of his editorials on population have come to our attention. Scarcely a month goes by without at least one editorial, and in several months there have been one or more per week.?
Slightly shaken (it provoked three consecutive editorials) by Lleras Camargo's flat advocacy of birth control in mid-1965, he reminded Colombia's ex-president that the continent could easily host two or three billion inhabitants and warned him that even serious problems would not warrant
*Even so, a medium-sized nation such as France is not only very concerned over its power position, but especially concerned over the relation of population size to power, largely as a result of manpower losses going back to World War I.
'The following discussion of Altamirano's editorials first appeared in Demography, Vol. 5, No. 2, 1968, pp. 850-853; and is included here with minor editorial changes, quoted by permission of the copyright holder.
•••Although most of the editorials quoted here arc unsigned, we have, for reasons of style and their editorial position, attributed them to Altamirano. All appeared in El Diario de Hoy, a newspaper with a circulation of 56,000 daily and 80,000 on Sunday.